Saudi royals fired women drivers in Rochester

Saudi Arabia's monarchy is notorious for the way it forces women to live as second-class citizens, or worse. Only with written permission from a male guardian can they work, travel, or even see a doctor.

And they can't drive, period.

These odious medieval rules are bad enough from a distance, but they stink even worse up close: Three women hired to squire Saudis around as they visited doctors at the Mayo Clinic last October were fired simply because they're women.

Now the women -- Barbara Herold, Gretchen Hoffman, and Lisa Boutelle -- want an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and may file a discrimination lawsuit against the companies who fired them, MPR reports.

Follow women2drive on Twitter with the #women2drive hashtag.
Follow women2drive on Twitter with the #women2drive hashtag.

The three say they timed their action to coincide with women2drive, a protest planned for today in Saudi Arabia in which women are being urged to take to the streets -- behind the steering wheel -- to protest the driving rules.

Excellent. If we're going to have to put up with Saudi sexism, we might as well import a Saudi protest movement, too.

All three will be part of a group on East Lake Street today protesting the Saudi driving rules and taking pictures of women drivers to send to the Saudi embassy.

Like so much of the Arab Spring protests, women2drive hopes to find critical mass on social media; there's a Facebook page here, and you can follow the #women2drive hashtag on Twitter -- after a woman named Manal al-Sharif was arrested for driving in May.

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